Gaming Away the Holiday: The Top 10 Sessions at PAX

The Labor Day holiday weekend is finally upon us. If you’re a video gamer or a game developer, this means only one thing: Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) is happening in Seattle.

PAX has become the biggest trade show in North America for computer and video games. It draws tens of thousands of people for a weekend of game exhibitions, demos, panels, gaming tournaments, parties, and concerts—this year’s band lineup includes Jonathan Coulton, Freezepop, and MC Frontalot. The expo is billed as a festival of gaming technology and culture. (And for all my East Coast peeps, just a reminder: PAX is coming to Boston next spring, March 26-28, 2010.)

All the action starts today at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in downtown Seattle. It is completely sold out, so if you don’t already have tickets, you are out of luck. Judging from the security at the event last year, you’d have only slightly less chance of breaking into Bill Gates’s house as crashing the PAX sessions.

If you do have an entry badge, though, here are my top 10 most interesting sessions to watch:

—How Can We Make Online Gaming Communities Suck Less? (Friday, 2:30 pm)
Attempts to answer the universal question, “why are we awesome in person and bastards online?” And explore what can be done about it.

—Prepare to Drop (Friday, 3:30 pm)
Join members of Kirkland, WA-based Bungie for an in-depth look at the soon to be released “Halo 3: ODST,” and discussions around the game’s development.

—Original Gangstas: Why Table-Top Gaming Still Packs Heat (Friday, 6:00 pm)
In a digital age, trading cards, miniatures, and traditional boardgames are holding their own at the kitchen table and increasingly on Xbox Live Arcade.

—Culture Wins in Game Marketing (Friday, 6:00pm)
How to market different types of games successfully. Includes representatives from Wizards of the Coast, Ubisoft, and other companies.

—Twitter and Beyond—New Game Communities Online (Saturday, 1:30pm)
Online game communities are changing rapidly thanks to social media. No longer are gamers primarily congregating on official game forums. They’re using Twitter, Facebook, and … Next Page »

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